GM Jarmo Kekäläinen Expects Flurry of Post-Draft Trades Around the NHL

By Jacob Nitzberg on October 3, 2020 at 9:25 am

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo GM Jarmo Kekäläinen isn't one to mince words.

When he said during his media availability on Friday that he expects "a lot more activity after the draft, as far as trades go," you can bet that Kekäläinen wants to be right in the middle of that activity. 

He's never been one to shy away from making a deal that he believes will make the Blue Jackets better. In one of the strangest NHL off-seasons ever, which is following one of the strangest NHL seasons ever, I wouldn't put anything past Kekäläinen in terms of what deals he might make.

"It's going to be a very different than normal sequence of the draft, free agency, and all that," Kekäläinen continued. 

With the flat salary cap of $81.5 million being enforced for the 2020-21 season, teams will have difficult decisions to make when it comes to contract extensions and going after free agents. 

"This could be a little bit different of a UFA class at the end of the day than it looks right now, because some of the hard decisions that teams will have to make," Kekäläinen acknowledged. The Blue Jackets have contract negotiations ongoing with three crucial RFAs in Josh Anderson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Vladislav Gavrikov (who is not eligible for an offer sheet due to his 10.2(c) status).

Finishing those negotiations as soon as possible will be incredibly beneficial for the Blue Jackets because it will give them a good idea of what room they'll have left in their cap to pursue free agents or make a trade.

The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually with Round 1 taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN (livestream). Rounds 2-7 will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on NHL Network.